Sonos Presents Soundbar with Far-field Microphones

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Beam wanted to bring music to the living room or TV room, but previous home theater speakers were simple not suitable for listening to music, says Sonos boss Patrick Spence.

The Beam is Not the first excursion from Sonos to the living room. In early 2013, the company introduced its Playbar Soundbar, and last year saw the launch of Playbase – a loudspeaker that serves as a saucer for televisions. Both the Playbar and the Playbase are enormously expensive and appeal to Sonos owners, who also want to equip their TVs with better sound.

The Beam is much more affordable, adds a voice control and was also facing developed to a slightly different application. The speaker is for streaming friends who consume this video content on televisions. The Sonos Beam wants to optimize the audio quality for television, but also deliver a good sound when the TV is off. For this purpose, a tweeter for higher frequencies and 4 woofers for lower frequencies was installed. Unlike other soundbar products, the tweeter is centered in the middle.

Another essential difference to the Playbar and Playbase: The Beam is connected to a TV via HDMI and can control the TV via HDMI CEC. For example, it is possible to turn off the TV via the unit.

The Beam has 5 far-field microphones and is supplied with support from Alexa. Support for the Google Assistant is scheduled to be added later this year. Also as a software update should come support for Apple’s Airplay 2. The Sonos Beam costs in this country 449 euros.

Sonos wants that users use the language assistants in the network. For example, in the future, users will be able to start audio playback on their iPhone via Airplay, then ask Alex to identify the song in progress, and then stop playing with the Sonos app on their Android device.

Sonos wants Airplay 2 support not only on the beam, but also on the Sonos One, the Playbase and the Play 5 speakers. The updates are scheduled to be released in July 2018.

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